Unlike aggravated assault, assault requires no weapon or threat of deadly force.
Under Florida law, an assault is defined as the following:
"An "assault" is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent."
In other words, an assault does not involve a touching or striking. That would be a battery.
Breaking down the statutory language, you will see what elements equal an assault:
1) Defendant, intentionally and unlawfully, threatened by word or act to do violence to the person of another
2) coupled with an apparent ability to do so
3) and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
In other words, an assault can be entirely verbal provided the State can prove that the accused had the ability to act on his or her threat. An accused person must make threats, by word or act, to do violence to another, and they must take some action to show that they are capable of carrying out that threat.
In other words, a verbal threat alone, without more, is not an assault. There must be the apparent ability to act on that threat.
Factors such as the distance between the accuser and the accused is important. As well as the nature of the threat. The threat must show imminent harm. That is, a conditional threat will not suffice. An example of a conditional threat would be, "If you come over to my house later, I will hit you." This is not an assault because in order for the violence to occur, the alleged victim must first satisfy a condition (coming over to the accused's house).
These are just a few of the legal exceptions to the law. Assault is a misdemeanor but if charged as a domestic violence offense, it can remain on your criminal record if the case is not dismissed. If you plead guilty or no contest to assault and it is domestic in nature, you cannot seal the charge!